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5 Top Tips for Engaging with Families

One of the potentially most complex relationships your team will have to negotiate is with the families of the individuals they support. Each family enters the sphere of services with their own history, experiences and expectations of how support should be provided to their loved ones. However, building trusting relationships with families can present opportunities for your team to utilise familial history and experiences to inform best outcomes for the individual.

Here are my top 5 tips to building successful, supportive and cohesive working relationships with families:

1. Demonstrate Empathy

Most of us have experience of being part of a family unit and all the associated positive emotions. Accepting that someone you care about may need professional care or support is extremely difficult, evoking many conflicting emotions. Part of your team’s responsibility is to understand that these emotions exist, and build trust with family members, so they feel included in the future plans of the individual.

2. Be Transparent

Professional relationships with families need to be mutually accountable, transparent, based on integrity. To help your team build trust with families, open communication is essential; sharing information will facilitate joined up support, achieving goals with the individual on their terms.

3. Listen

Effective communication lies at the very heart of the Oliver McGowan mandatory training in learning disability and autism. In order to provide truly person-centred support, your team needs to listen to both individuals and their families. This is important in recognising their needs and preferences, whilst respecting that often the individual may need support to communicate their wishes. Furthermore, listening to individuals and their families will show respect to their views and concerns, thus contributing to better working relationships.

4. Work in Partnership

Communication is only as effective as the action which follows; the most impactful actions are those taken in partnership with individuals and their families. Partnership working has many benefits including collective responsibility, sharing experience of the individual and mutual support. Your team’s acceptance of families as equal partners of empowerment can promote engagement and involvement, strengthening relationships within the individual’s circle of support and achieving meaningful outcomes.

5. Empower Individuals and their Families

If your team can work inclusively with individuals and their families in the manner described, they should automatically be empowering families as active partners in support planning and review. Your team can play a pivotal role in supporting families to remain close; enjoying time together and supporting the individual in decision-making and future planning. Your key focus is on working with the individual and those they care about!

To find out how a bespoke Empowerment and Person-centred Support programme could support your team to develop relationships with families of the the individuals they support, please get in touch for a free virtual coffee:

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